SELFIE Forum: European gathering on teaching and learning in the digital age

The first SELFIE Forum took place on 4-5 April in Madrid, gathering more than 180 education policy makers, teachers, school leaders and researchers from more than 30 countries. The event organised by the European Commission and the Spanish Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, provided space for reflection and feedback six months after the launch of SELFIE.

The first day kicked off with an opening speech by Maeve Galvin, a 16-year old student from Ireland and winner of European Digital Girl of the Year who presented her views on the potential of technology to make education more relevant and engaging for young people. The session continued with Charlina Vitcheva, Deputy-Director General of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and Alejandro Tiana, State Secretary for Education of Spain who both stressed the importance of innovative education and developing the digital skills of young people.

Keynote speaker Fernando Trujillo (University of Granada) looked at SELFIE in the wider context of innovation and digital transformation in society. In his speech, Fernando stressed the importance of becoming active agents of transformation rather than reproducing existing practice.

First SELFIE Forum in Madrid, Spain; day1 presentations

SELFIE as a trigger for discussion

The opening session was followed by a panel discussion ‘SELFIE in our school’, where Carmen Lazar, teacher from Andalucía, Spain, François Jourde, teacher and Digital Learning Coordinator at European Schools, Alessandro Brolpito, European Training Foundation and Anja Balanskat, European Schoolnet, shared their experiences with the self-assessment tool. Despite their different background, all panellists spoke about the potential of SELFIE to help schools 'move out of their comfort zone', trigger discussion at an institutional level and to develop their own digital strategy.

First SELFIE Forum in Madrid, Spain; first day presentations

Participants then split into eight groups where they discussed how SELFIE could be developed over the coming years and, in particular, how schools could be supported once they have taken the self-reflection. Key messages from the group work included:

  • the clear need to provide support to schools after SELFIE has been taken;
  • the importance awareness raising and explaining the value of SELFIE  to different audiences;
  • anonymised and aggregated data can be useful for policymaking on national and regional level;
  • the need to create a network of SELFIE ambassadors across participating countries;
  • the importance to establish SELFIE networks on a local and national level; to ensure stakeholder engagement around the tool;
  • the development of an inventory of school needs after completion of SELFIE

The second day of the Forum continued with a wrap-up of the main messages from the afternoon sessions of day 1 and a demo of the SELFIE tool presented by the team. Keynote speaker, Yves Punie, from the the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, gave a presentation on the sister projects of SELFIE on learning and skills. Yves presented the rich portfolio of frameworks tackling digital competences for citizens (DigComp 2.0), consumers (DigCompConsumer), educators (DigCompEdu), along with the Open Education framework for higher education institutions (OpenEdu), Entrepreneurship Competence framework for individuals (EntreComp).

I have taken SELFIE- now what?

The Forum continued with a presentation of good practice on the use of SELFIE in six countries across Europe. In a panel discussion, moderated by Jose Luis Fernandez from the Spanish Ministry of Education and VET, representatives from Spain, Serbia, Italy, Cyprus, Ireland and Lithuania shared their experience and lessons learned of using SELFIE in their countries. Fran Balsera, Spanish Ministry of Education and VET, launched live at the event the second edition of the MOOC based on SELFIE developed by the Spanish Ministry of education.

Seán Gallagher from St Angela’s College Sligo identified SELFIE as an opportunity to bring the global discussion on digital education to a local level. The Italian case, presented by Stefania Bocconi, SELFIE national coordinator, proved that a combination of bottom-up and top-down support can be a winning formula for rolling out the tool on a national level. Anastasia Economou from the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute of the Ministry of Education and Culture, identified as a key the creation of an action plan once SELFIE has been completed in order to identify next steps for the school.

Vaino Brazdeikis and Asta Buinevičiūtė from the Centre of Information Technology for Education of Lithuania shared their national experience, where SELFIE was integrated in the broader teacher-training course. Danijela Scepanovic from the Serbian Ministry of Education emphasised that SELFIE should not be seen as an isolated self-reflection, but instead as a component of the wider picture of digital transformation in schools.

Firs SELFIE Forum in Madrid, Spain; 2019-04-04

The Forum concluded with closing remarks from Deirdre Hodson, Policy Officer from the European Commission 's digital education team who identified as a key takeaway of the Forum  the importance of co-learning which reflects the nature of SELFIE-making sure that the whole institution is heard and is together in the process of self-reflection on digital tools in the classroom. Consuelo Vélaz de Medrano Ureta, Director General of Evaluation and Regional Cooperation, of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Vocational Training followed the same line of identifying that Ministries should listen to the views of stakeholders and that SELFIE is one of the steps in improving and making education more innovative.

Following the Forum, a smaller expert workshop took place gathering 40 experts with experience in self-reflection tools for education. Through a series of interactive and participatory activities, the participants discussed the way forward for the tool and what can be done to ensure it is scalable and sustainable in the longer term.

During the two days of the Forum, the participants had the opportunity to learn about the experience of SELFIE in Hungary, Greece, Poland, Malta, Cyprus, Russia and Italy during a poster and video session at the conference.